Gunmen attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in on Monday martyring two guards and a policeman before security forces killed all four of the attackers, police said.
Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility in a post on Twitter but Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the claim and spokesmen for the group were not available for comment.
“We locked ourselves in our offices,” Asad Javed, who works at a brokerage in the stock exchange building, which is in a high security zone that also houses the head offices of several banks, told Reuters.
Javed said he was on the ground floor when he heard gunfire and an explosion and people scattered for safety.
The police chief, Ghulam Nabi Memon, told Reuters the gunmen attacked with grenades and guns after pulling up in a silver Corolla car.
They threw a grenade at security men posted outside the compound then opened fire on a security post. The four were killed when security forces posted there responded.
Their car was abandoned where they left it.
Two guards and a policeman weremartyred and seven people were wounded, Deputy Inspector General of Police Sharjil Kharal told media.
A counter-terrorism official told Reuters the attackers were carrying significant quantities of ammunition and grenades in backpacks.
The BLA claimed responsibility in a brief message on a Twitter account set up shortly before the raid, describing it as a “self-sacrificing” attack carried out by its Majeed brigade.
The account was suspended a short time after the attack.
This month, three explosions on the same day claimed by a separatist group killed four people including two soldiers in Sindh.
The Pakistan Stock Exchange did not suspend trading during the attack. Its main KSE-100 index dropped 220 points but it later recovered and was 200 points higher at 0830 GMT.
Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah confirmed that all four terrorists who stormed into the Pakistan Stock Exchange building were killed during an exchange of fire with the security forces.
In a video message, he said Rangers and law enforcing agencies have cordoned off the building and the clearance operation is underway which will soon be completed.
Sindh Rangers DG
Addressing a press conference following the attack, Sindh Rangers Director-General Major General Omer Ahmed Bukhari said that terrorists wanted to hijack the country’s economy by attacking the stock exchange building, but they failed.
The provincial DG-Rangers said that terrorists that were killed wanted to take the employees of the PSX hostage.
“From the looks of the items recovered from them they had a long-term plan,” Maj Gen Bukhari said. “They had assault rifles, and also some edibles with them. But we neutralised them within eight minutes, and put them where they belonged.”
Responding to a question, the DG Rangers ruled out the idea that the attackers acted on their own. “This reflects frustration of hostile agencies, especially RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) – India’s premier intelligence agency. This attack would not have been possible without their help.”
The Rangers officials linked today’s incident to the Chinese Consulate attack that took place in November 2018. Maj Gen Bukhari said both the incidents had similarities in the way they were carried out. As the Balochsitan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed the responsibility for both the attacks, Maj Gen Bukhari however stated that a final statement will be issued after the completion of the investigation.
In response to a question regarding whether the incident was an intelligence failure, the Rangers officials said that, “It is easy to call everything an ‘intelligence failure’, but the response of the security forces was in place as the terrorists could not achieve their goal.”
He said that he would like to tell the citizens of the port city that life resumed in and around the PSX compound. “The index was seen at a positive side as activity resumed at the stock market as well.” He called on the people of the country to have faith in itheir law enforcement agencies.
President Dr Arif Alvi has condemned the terrorist attack on the building of Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi.
In a statement, he said Pakistan is determined to root out terrorism from its soil and terrorists will never succeed in their nefarious designs.
The president paid a rich tribute to security personnel, who foiled the terrorists’ bid by putting their own lives in danger. He said the role of security forces in overcoming terrorism and eradicating it is worth appreciation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the terrorist attack.
He said members of the law enforcement agencies courageously took on the terrorists and foiled their bid. He said the entire nation is proud of the valiant personnel of the security agencies.
The premier also sympathized with the family members of the martyred security personnel and prayed for the early recovery of the injured.